Lost Words from Yesterday

When Ben Bova died a few weeks ago, I got to thinking about my various interactions with Ben, as I suspect many of us do when we lose someone who made a difference in our lives. Ben was my editor for two different publications, one being ANALOG, but the other being Omni online, which, as I recall, only lasted as an online publication for a little over a year roughly in the 1995-97 time period, at least as I recall.

When Ben was editor of the online version, he reached out to me, not for stories, but for several columns dealing with future economics and politics. One was on the economics of interstellar trade. But I have no idea what I wrote because, right after the online Omni shut down, a victim of being established far too early when the market wasn’t ready for an online magazine, my writing computer fried itself. Now, I’d backed up all of my fiction, but not those columns. I’d gotten paid for them, but I didn’t even have a subscription to the publication, and, in fact, I actually have no idea whether all or any of the columns (two or three) were even published, only that I got paid. If I printed out those columns, the print copies have long since vanished or have been swallowed up in my back papers.

With a bit of diligence I did find the table of contents of all of the print copies of Omni, but nothing relating to the online version. This, I suspect, is going to be more and more of a problem in years to come. With paper copies, there’s at least a chance of tracking down something, but purely electronic data can be incredibly ephemeral, even when it’s theoretically “saved,” especially if there’s no documentation or no devices left to “read” that data.

On the one hand, I’d like to dig those old columns up, or at least the record of their existence, but on the other… do I really want to know what I spouted forth in economic terms some 25 years ago?

4 thoughts on “Lost Words from Yesterday”

  1. Ralph Wilson says:

    Have you tried the ‘Wayback Machine’? It certainly goes back that far.

    1. I have… and I’ve been unable to find any record of the online Omni. It’s almost as though I never wrote those articles/columns.

      1. Postagoras says:

        The wayback archive of OMNI looks like it’s under omnimag dot com. Here’s a snapshot of the archived articles from 1996.

        https://web.archive.org/web/19970607014654/http://www.omnimag.com/archives/

        I can’t find anything written by you, sorry.

        1. Thank you. I appreciate the effort.

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